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Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanalm Midway - The Great Naval Battles as Seen Through Japanese Eyes [Hardcover]

Tameichi Hara
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 May 2007
Here, originally published in 1961, is Hara's classic memoir of the great naval battles of the Pacific War. Known throughout Japan as the unsinkable captain of World War II, Tameichi Hara was a hero of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Author of its manual on torpedo attack techniques, Captain Hara exemplified the best in Japanese surface commanders: highly skilled (particularly in torpedo warfare and night fighting), hard driving and aggressive. He led his destroyers into the thick of combat in practically every major naval battle in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. Not reluctant to criticize himself and his senior commanders, Hara also praised American courage and resourcefulness. He criticized his superiors for using cavalry tactics to fight naval battles; never understanding the implications of air power; dividing their forces in the face of enemy forces of unknown strength; basing tactics on what they thought their enemy would do; and accepting a war of attrition with a foe more capable of maintaining it. Japanese journalist Fred Saito (b. 1917) translated into English Hara's memoirs; he also expanded it based on hundreds of hours of interviews with Hara. Commander Roger Pineau (USNR) checked the accuracy of the battle accounts and provided notes that authenticate or correct Hara's observations and give the names of U.S. Navy ships and commanders who fought against Hara's forces.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (15 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591143543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143543
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 17.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,475,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Captain Tameichi Hara (1900-1980) was an Imperial Japanese naval commander during the Pacific War and the author of the IJN manual on torpedo attack techniques, famous for his skills in torpedo warfare and night fighting. A samurai descendant, Hara graduated from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy at Etajima in 1921. In 1932, Hara was assigned as a surface warfare instructor and in the middle of the same year his naval doctrine was accepted by the high command. At the beginning of the war, he was a captain of the destroyer Amatsukaze, but for most of the war he was a destroyer squadron commander, aboard Shigure. Hara's battle tactics were first used in the battle of Guadalcanal. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book tells it as it was warts and all. Captain Hara is very candid and fair in his telling of his story. The detail is amazing but that does not detract from the flow of the narrative. This is a must for anyone interested in the Pacific war or indeed naval warfare in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable 17 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some of the best narratives emanating from the second world war are written by Destroyer men,the majority of these RN or USN,this one from the other side of the hill is one of the very best.Captain Hara never lost his initiative,so often the case in the Japanese millitary system of that era,he was also very lucky as he himself says,a fine fluid writer,the description of the loss of his cruiser in the air-sea battle that also saw the loss of the Yamato plus truthful criticism of Admiral Yamamoto and other high command personalities are just two of the many reasons why this book is indispensable to anyone studying the Pacific war and wanting a strong insight into the workings and mindset of the IJN.
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By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book offers certainly an interesting insight into the mind of a high ranking officer of Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II and also contains interesting reflections on various naval battles and Japanese admirals who fought them, beginning with the most important of them, Isoroku Yamamoto. It can however be only partly considered as a source of historical knowledge, as it contains also some factual errors and a lot of very subjective judgements, some of them pretty odd.

PRECISIONS

Before going into the heart of the review, it is important to precise that the subtitle of this book is very misguiding as captain Hara was nowhere near the attack of Pearl Harbor. As far as Midway is concerned, although he took part in the campaign, his destroyer ("Amatsukaze") was affected to escort of invasion fleet which DID NOT participate in the carrier's battle itself and hardly did see any action at all. He also didn't participate in most of Japanese victories, like Coral Sea, Savo, Tassafaronga or Kolombangara and he was not present at two decisive fights of Pacific War, the battles of Philippine Sea and Leyte.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well-told and fascinating memoir 6 Jan 2014
By T. D. Welsh TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Captain Tameichi Hara was just over 40 when Japan declared war on the USA in December 1941. He fought throughout the war, first in command of a single destroyer and then as commodore of a flotilla. Having established a glowing reputation as the best torpedo tactician in the Imperial Japanese Navy, he was entrusted with the creation of a brand-new manual of torpedo attacking techniques which was published in 1932. Armed with large numbers of fast and powerful oxygen-fuelled torpedoes - far better than those of any other nation - Japanese naval officers were optimistic about their chances in any future war. But, as Captain Hara admits, they had no way of predicting the American advantage in electronics (especially radar) which eventually outweighed everything else. It is difficult not to empathise with the frustrated anger of Japanese officers and crews as, from 1942 on, they increasingly found themselves accurately bombed, shelled, and torpedoed by enemies who themselves remained invisible.

Hara claims to have been one of many officers (including, notoriously, Admiral Yamamoto) who felt the war against America was suicidal. But the Army high command was in charge, and the Pearl Harbor attack took place. Even then, Hara felt that Japan could at least force the USA to negotiate peace - but only if the IJN won every battle, and never made any mistakes. As it happened, especially at the level of grand strategy, there followed little other than mistakes. The hapless attack on Midway, the squandering of irreplaceable pilots, the foolish attempt to crush the Americans at Guadalcanal... it all culminated in the madness of Leyte Gulf, where the IJN wavered irresolutely between launching a last furious suicide attack and trying to damage the US invasion fleet.
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Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book offers certainly an interesting insight into the mind of a high ranking officer of Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II and also contains interesting reflections on various naval battles and Japanese admirals who fought them, beginning with the most important of them, Isoroku Yamamoto. It can however be only partly considered as a source of historical knowledge, as it contains also some factual errors and a lot of very subjective judgements, some of them pretty odd.

PRECISIONS

Before going into the heart of the review, it is important to precise that the subtitle of this book is very misguiding as captain Hara was nowhere near the attack of Pearl Harbor. As far as Midway is concerned, although he took part in the campaign, his destroyer ("Amatsukaze") was affected to escort of invasion fleet which DID NOT participate in the carrier's battle itself and hardly did see any action at all. He also didn't participate in most of Japanese victories, like Coral Sea, Savo, Tassafaronga or Kolombangara and he was not present at two decisive fights of Pacific War, the battles of Philippine Sea and Leyte.
Read more ›
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